By M. Owen Lee
Father Owen Lee is across the world identified for his intermission commentaries featured throughout the Saturday afternoon declares from the Metropolitan Opera condominium in long island. A Season of Opera: From Orpheus to Ariadne gathers jointly for the 1st time Father Lee's top broadcast and cassette commentaries, public lectures, and articles on twenty-three works for the musical level. The essays variety from the pioneering Orpheus of Monteverdi to the forward-looking Ariadne of Richard Strauss. integrated are Father Lee's well-known discussions of Mozart's Magic Flute and Beethoven's Fidelio , Verdi's l. a. Traviata and Falstaff , Wagner's Tristan und Isolde , and Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites . The concluding bankruptcy, initially released because the lead article within the Opera Quarterly 's distinctive factor at the finish of the 20 th century, is a thought-provoking forecast of opera's destiny. suggestions for additional examining, CD recordings, and video clips also are incorporated. Opera Canada has applauded Father Lee's 'extraordinary skill to have interaction, problem, and enlighten an unlimited and various audience' and known as his learning-worn-lightly commentaries 'a certain mixture of religious empathy, classical scholarship, and mental insight.' Opera fanatics, or someone drawn to psychology and mythology, humanities and comparative literature, or the artwork of the essay will welcome this publication.
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It is only right that the leading lady in an opera buffa should be the light and lovely Zerlina. A. Hoffmann told one of his spookiest tales about her, and audiences wondered whether Giovanni had had his way with Anna, whether she fought him or yielded to him willingly. Anna made the opera dark and Romantic, and her aria 'Or sai chi 1'onore' showed her the equal of any of the spirits of opera seria past. ' All the same, in our century we have come to think that the most important of the three ladies is Donna Elvira, for she represents in her one person the true ambivalence of the work - the conflicting claims of the comic and the serious.
He entertained for a chilling moment the idea of his own death. But that is, again, a serious nineteenth-century view of Don Giovanni. The eighteenth century did not end the opera there. It wanted the vaudeville Mozart appended to that death scene - the charming ending wherein life returns to normal for the other characters, who advance in turn to the footlights and speak to the audience directly. And we today want it too, for we have come to see this mercurial drama, with its vivid yet elusive characters, as something more than the story of Don Giovanni alone, and perhaps as something more than its creators, its performers, its past admirers, and its few present detractors have been able singly to say.
It is to make a mere allegory, only partly true, out of what is, in the end, a universal and profoundly true mythic statement. The Magic Flute is more than the struggle between CounterReformation and Enlightenment. It has much more to do with the universals of myth than with the particulars of history. Its meanings, like its music, are prismatic. And if Ingmar Bergman and many others are right, The Magic Flute is about more than any one of us. It is about the whole history of civilization. George Bernard Shaw once said that Sarastro's was the only music that would not sound blasphemous coming from the mouth of God.